Friday, May 15, 2009

More on Louisville

The last time I showed work in Louisville was May of 1976, a student work show at the Louisville Public Library (if my memory serves me correctly), I had the distinction of having one of my entries removed due to obscenity. You be the judge but I'm guessing someone saw something homoerotic in the image.
Here's the story behind the picture. My friend Bobby Adams and I were interested in making deliberately provocative, dada'esque images often using each other as models. We were on the roof of the Center for Photographic Studies on W. Main St in downtown Louisville. I had just shot Bobby, with his camera, nude and standing on his hands with the cityscape of Louisville behind him. As he pulled on his jeans he remarked, "damn, look at the black stuff all over my hands" and I took a couple frames with my own camera.
The exaggerated grain in the image was from deliberate reticulation of the negatives during processing, a technique I used quite a bit during that period, and one which I now look back on and mostly groan. First year photo student stuff.
Anyway, it was kind of cool having my print banished. At least I got a reaction.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Inspiring and Overwhelming.

I came away from my two mornings reviewing portfolios at Photolucida both inspired and overwhelmed by the level of talent and quality of the work, re-affirming my belief in the still image as a powerful medium. Three artists stood out for me:

Karen Davis’ series of staged set pieces using mechanical dolls that had belonged to her late disabled sister. Re-creating scenes, both imagined and actual, of their shared childhood Davis presents a powerfully emotional body of images.

Lauren Hinkin’s “Displaced I & II” series uses landscape to communicate a sense of loss and abandonment in two bodies of staggeringly beautiful B&W prints.

Alejandro Cartagena has over a period of years chronicled the affects of sprawling new suburbs in Mexican cities. He seduces the viewer by utilizing a combination of traditional landscape, abstract formalism and documentary motifs to achieve a complex simplicity that is at once both informative and beautiful.

It was such a pleasure and honor to be able to meet all the people who so generously shared their work with me. Thanks again to the good folks at Photolucida for putting on a great event.